Mihanići Station

MIHANIĆI station is located at 328.30m above sea level, 23.0 km from Uskoplje and 286.3 km from Sarajevo. The building was built on a high stone wall. Today there is a bar and lookout.

There were once high-speed trains and in 1966 the timetable changed to keep the station as a pass through stop with maintenance and no passing place for other locomotives. Passenger trains stood there and received passengers. There were two water stations, but the steam trains that were in ‘great need’ only received water from one because there was often not enough to go around. The station had water from the reservoir, but also from a well with a hand pump.

The single-storey rail freight warehouse was on the left at the entrance to the station and the line for locomotive repair and cleaning. There was also a warehouse for tools and wagons, all built on a high stone wall.

Why the tunnel in Mihanići was built causing the railway to change its direction towards Zvekovica (Cavtat railway station) and did not continue on the same terrain with a gentler slope to the 12 km distant saddle Nagumanac (today Debeli brijeg), is not completely clear. After all, the line would be shorter by 18 km and would not rise again to a height of 105m through Konavle.

The story remembered in Konavle is as follows; The section of the railway was supposed to extend from Mihanići towards Dubravka and the station was to be located on Gornje brdo. However, a priest from Gruda went to Vienna and arranged for the railway to turn toward Zvekovica and cross Gruda through Konavle and connect more settlements.

The credit goes to the priest, dean Crnica from Gruda, who also organized the reception of the first ceremonial train in Gruda on July 16, 1901 and welcomed the distinguished guests.

The railroad descended from Mihanići with a slope of 25 metres per kilometre, about ten kilometers long, down the walls in the direction of Drvenik, and above the villages of Gabrila and the homes of Vlahutin and Klecak (it is narrated that the train in Gabril was overtaken by two people). Below Gabril, the railroad intersected the local road and there was also a wall there with a culvert for storm water. The line continued below Uskoplje and in the direction entered the Konavle field and towards the Cavtat station. Part of the railway is paved and serves as a local road. The long high stone walls still stand as monuments to this day, and the train drivers found it difficult to bring the heavy trains down the long drop of 25 ppm. Air brakes could be exhausted here:

Air brakes were used in the braking system. The wagons were interconnected through a high pressure hose. These were so-called exhaustive brakes, so they would wear out on long descents. There were times when the brakes were applied and the train was slow to stop. If the technical staff were setting the brakes (slippers) according to the regulations, it could hardly be done. And if the brakes became pads depleted and the force starts to diminish, difficulties arise. I had a case when I was working in Zelenka that a train departed from the Army Dol, and there was a drop of 25 ppm. The brakes were braking poorly, so we flew through Cavtat station, but as there was an ascent of 5 ppm behind Cavtat, we only stopped there.

However, there were some irresponsible misconceptions of some drivers:

I was a young driver, I was 23, looking for a challenge. I tried to reduce the running time by locomotive 85 on the express train from Mihanići to Cavtat and Gruda because I was late from Sarajevo. I knew beforehand that I would fail, but I tried anyway. When the train departed, the locomotive clipped all the figs along the track, leaning through speed to one side and the other. I hit the tender with the handbrake, and I didn’t brake the locomotive, because then it would be a stiff body that would skate like skis. When I drove to Herceg Novi, I jumped out of the locomotive into the sea to bathe (because the sea was under the track, op. P.). He gave the dispatcher a departure sign, and I’m still at sea. When I got out the train driver Drasko throws his hat off and swears: – ”Your daddy was a man, and what are your goals?”.

When the railroad descended into the Konavle fields it continued on through a high semicircular masonry embankment, a crossroads (through which the culvert was omitted), which we called the Cavtat horseshoe (bend R = 300). It encloses the beginning of the Konavle field in the harbor and turns the railway to the east towards the Cavtat station built in Zvekovica. Before the entrance to the station area, there was a level crossing for the Cavtat – Gruda road and beyond. We already mentioned in the introduction that the demanding route from Vojsko dol to Mihanić and Cavtat was built by the Imocani.

One Comment

  1. I LOVE these articles. I have walked these areas, and it’s fascinating for a person like me who loves this place and is also a civil engineer, to learn about these details.
    Hvala.

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